Paul Normansell

Waiting in the Sky by Paul Normansell
Happy and Glorious by Paul Normansell
James Dean - The Rebel by Paul Normansell
Elvis - The King by Paul Normansell
Come As You Are (Cobain) by Paul Normansell
Break On Through To The Other Side (Morrison) by Paul Normansell
Marilyn - The Blonde by Paul Normansell
Audrey Hepburn - The Fair Lady by Paul Normansell
Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix) by Paul Normansell
Tears Dry On Their Own (Winehouse) by Paul Normansell
It’s fair to say (possibly) that Paul Normansell is to rock music what Damien Hurst was to Brit Pop back in the glorious mid-1990s, when the latter was invited by indie kings, Blur to direct their famous ‘Country House’ video; having studied at Goldsmiths (University of London) with members of the band when students. But then this is a tad tenuous. But the reason we mention this is because the popular artist-popular musician association (which has been noted for generations and across musical genres) has been reinforced of late by the aforementioned contemporary portrait artist, when he collaborated with Las Vegas-based rockers, The Killers in the late Noughties. Which we’re sure that not many of you were aware of.

That’s right, back then (and having recently seen Normansell’s art featured in a popular men’s magazine title by chance) the artist was approached by The Killers’ people with an invite to create the band’s album sleeve artwork for their forthcoming long player; due for release that particular year. That album was the No 1 best seller, entitled, ‘Day and Age’, which went on to shift in excess of 2.4 million copies globally thereafter. Which was great news for Brandon Flowers and co, and equally welcome news for Normansell, courtesy of the mass exposure of his work and the interest that the cover piqued with a new demographic. Explaining the moment he received the call from The Killers’ themselves, Normansell – at serious risk (but accepted) of sounding like a fan boy, commented; “Talking to Brandon on the phone about his ideas and thoughts for their new album made me feel like I was part of the process to create an album. It was amazing working with the band and really great meeting them, attending their concerts and seeing my art work everywhere in shops and at their shows”.

And then there were the industry plaudits and recognition; which always serves to wonders for your reputation and CV. Not least when Rolling Stone magazine hailed the cover as ‘The Best Album Art of 2008’, whilst MTV called Normansell’s art the ‘Best Album Art of the Decade’. What’s more, NME nominated it as their ‘Best Album Art of 2008’. On the back of this, Normansell was Man of the Month in April 2010's GQ Magazine, photographed by the legendary David Bailey. And so completed his introduction to the contemporary art world, if he needed a further one.

Above and beyond this episode, Normansell’s art has brought about critical acclaim worldwide, with particular applause coming courtesy of the fashion industry as well as the music; and again two like-minded, cross-fertalisational walks of life which have historically always interacted by scratching and rubbing each other’s commercial backs. And that’s partly due to Normansell’s towering images of some of the fashion world’s most iconic faces, including the revered likes of Hepburn, Monroe, Bowie, Twiggy and bringing style matters right smack, bang up to date with his design language spotlight being cast on Moss and Deyn to complete the picture. To this highly considered and illustriously illustrative end, Normansell’s portfolio has been referred to in some quarters as presenting some of the most style conscious imagery to define the shifting trends of popular culture.

Normansell’s iconic images are summoned through individually painted dots in high gloss enamel paint which has been introduced to sheet aluminium; this meticulous process creates a flawless reflective quality as if they were literally part and parcel of the 2D furniture found within the pages of a glossy magazine. Painting each dot individually takes as long as it takes according to Normansell, who concurs that they’re all different in size, shape and colour, and all applied freehand using a fine brush onto aluminium; therein confirming that there are no shortcuts, despite counter claims by envious parties determined to sabotage the majesty of the artist’s exquisite craftsmanship and very obvious patience of a saint.

Unfortunately for Normansell the price of creative success and grandeur comes at a cost to his health. Well, accumulatively speaking it will do if he’s not careful. The problem arises with simple physics, as the Normansell’s hallmark compositions are habitually originated and manifest in a horizontal manner. This is to ensure that the paint remains unmoved long enough to complete the drying process. Should the aluminium canvas be re-aligned in a vertical stance and form part of a more conventional easel, gravitational drag would in effect prompt the paint to sag and ultimately, run. All of which results in Normansell having to position himself in such a way which allows him to paint the pieces horizontally, believe it or not. This has meant in the past experimenting with lying on a plank supported by two chairs, to a hammock suspended above the floor. None of them have been perfect, and none have permanently removed his need for weekly sessions at the chiropractor according to sources close to the contemporary artist; who is literally damaging himself for his art.

And when you consider that due to Normasell’s technique each piece can essentially take hundreds of hours to complete, to paint a full image made up of individual dots, this is an awful long time to be spent in unfamiliar postures. Speaking of his very personal technique and just why he opts to use the materials and mediums he does, Normansell adds; “The use of different materials enables my paintings to have different surfaces and textures. As I paint in gloss on aluminium, the reflective qualities enable the painting to be viewed differently depending on the angle it is viewed from”.

Following a string of sell out shows and media attention Paul has become one of the world’s most sought-after contemporary artists, receiving international acclaim and exhibiting as far afield as Japan, the United States and Australia. Today Normansell’s portraits of famous faces from popular culture hang in private and corporate collections across the globe, including BBC Radio 1 DJ, Trevor Nelson and Pete Tong ‘s, musician Daniel Bedingfield’s (all of whom were known to have purchased bought some early abstract work) as well as British Airways to name but a handful.

View All Art Works By Paul Normansell